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IT Governance - CIO Role

I feel IT Governance is the most an important function under the umbrella of the CIO. Since Technology Governance is a overarching organizational issue, the CIO comes in as a strategist with the unique ability to bridge the gap of the many business departments and that require technology and offer perspectives on solving business problems. In practice however there seems to be a lot of confusion in roles and responsiblities of a CIO  in the technology governance realm when compared to the CTO. The CIO is not your IT guy, web guy, or the techie that rescues you from the hole.

The key attributes that will be required by a person in the CIO role would be

Big-picture thinking

Big picture thinking is the ability to see the whole gammut of organizational operations and see, identify the broken processes or the lack of them and the need of integrating technology to improve efficienty of the bottom line of operations and streamline flow of information back to the senior management.

Capturing Market Share

A CIO role in technology governance becomes crucial because he is responsible for connecting the dots of communication between business functions internally and use a heavy dosage of business intelligence and market awareness and bring that data to the table for strategic planning and strategic decision making.
Auditing Risk & Security
Another key area I feel the CIO role in IT Governance is auditing risk and security of the databases, data in general, and the procurment & implementation of the technology strategies. A cost/benefit ratio analysis, ROI and other financial ratios and KPIs are important tools in the arsenal the CIO carries.

Misconceptions

But I thought the CIO was the head of the IT department?

The technology department is a operational entity but also a curcial strategic entity these days. Because of its operational nautre and its 60% responsibilities take the nature of executing and supporting daily technical needs of employees, implementing technology, building services etc, it still requires the guidance of the CIO to implement and make sure that these activities aim at increasing efficiency of the organization and satisfying current and future business needs & problems.  In many organizations based upon size there may be multiple operational IT managers and here is where alignment of solutions and operational efficieny and mitigation of risks should go hand in hand.

Why don’t other departments just talk to the operational manager(s) of IT?

Normally the technology department or operational project managers take in problems, build a new service from heads & personnel of functional depts like HR, Finance, Engineering, Warehouse etc and implement solutions in silos, or "one-off" solutions that are temporary fixes, workarounds because of costing issues. But these end up being expensive in the long run because of maintenance burdens, migration bottlenecks, and ultimately wastage of IT Resources. The role of the CIO becomes crucial here because he takes into account alignment of business needs, overarching business goals, future needs, and plans for scalabiltiy. These factors bring in skill sets the CIO offers to be the middle man broker between functional heads and technology. The final objective is seamless integration for seamless delivery of services using technology.

CIO's Involvment

A CIO's involvement thus in Technology Governance becomes less in operational & technology implementation but more involved in business strategy, revenue generation, business-technology process management, and being the completing cog in the entire customer relationship management. My intention here of using CRM term is intended at internal as well external customers and this includes all the partners who are involved in increasing the value chain. CIO's involvment is heavy in terms of strategy, critical data touch-points and information risk management.

My thoughts for the day,

Sam Kurien

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